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“The most beautiful women on the planet are rife with insecurity and self-doubt” Claire Danes on finding peace with her body

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha
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Claire Danes is speaking up about the way actresses' sizes are scrutinised in Hollywood and how many women feel unhappy with the way they look.

In the December issue of Allure, she says, "It's just so ingrained in us, the idea that we should take up the right amount of space, literally and figuratively." 

"I've wrestled with this my whole life, as just a person in the world and as somebody who makes images."

It's certainly not only an issue reserved for Hollywood. Forty-one percent of UK women are unhappy with their body weight and shape, up from 36% in 2004 and just 4% of women worldwide describe themselves as beautiful

Danes says, "It's OK to want to look and feel your best. It's OK to work at being attractive, whatever that means to you. And it's also OK to not expect to be defined by that. It's OK to be powerful in every way: to be big, to take up space. To breathe and thrive."

"I have plenty of vanity in my life," she continues. "I want to look pretty in the world. But it can be this bottomless pit. I know some of the most beautiful women on the planet—unequivocally, objectively friggin' gorgeous—and they are rife with insecurity and self-doubt, and you just think, 'Well, how can that be?'"

Claire Danes and Lena Dunham at Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World Gala

Claire Danes and Lena Dunham at Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World Gala

"I'm attractive enough. I can do the work I want to do. I've found this wonderful man who wants to make out with me (husband Hugh Dancy). I'm good," she says.

Last week, the actress told People magazine, "I feel like my body is monitored and commented on infinitely more than my male counterpart."

"I remember a couple of Emmys ago, Lena Dunham and I were on the carpet together. We were singled out and criticized for having different body types – I was too skinny and she was too big," said Danes, 36.

"She is a dear friend of mine, and it made me angry because this is just how we are."

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Season 5 of Homeland

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Season 5 of Homeland

Danes' face has been the subject of countless memes on the internet due to her emphatic expressions in the TV show Homeland, where she plays a bi-polar CIA agent called Carrie Mathison. 

The star says acting is one area in her life where she doesn't care about looking flawless: "I'm very vain about my performance. I want to give as honest a performance as I can. But I'm not so worried about being regarded as beautiful when I'm playing a character."

Images: Rex Features

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.

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